Solar Eclipse v. Total Solar Eclipse
What's the big deal?

As seen from the Earth, a solar eclipse is a type of eclipse that occurs when the Moon passes between the Sun and Earth, and the Moon fully or partially blocks  the Sun. This can happen only at new moon, when the Sun and the Moon are in conjunction as seen from Earth in an alignment referred to as syzygy. In a total eclipse, the disk of the Sun is fully obscured by the Moon. In partial and annular eclipses, only part of the Sun is obscured.

If the Moon were in a perfectly circular orbit, a little closer to the Earth, and in the same orbital plane, there would be total solar eclipses every month. However, the Moon’s orbit is inclined (tilted) at more than 5 degrees to the Earth’s orbit around the Sun, so its shadow at new moon usually misses Earth. Earth’s orbit is called the ecliptic plane as the Moon’s orbit must cross this plane in order for an eclipse (both solar as well as lunar) to occur. In addition, the Moon’s actual orbit is elliptical, often taking it far enough away from Earth that its apparent size is not large enough to block the Sun totally. The orbital planes cross each other at a line of nodes resulting in at least two, and up to five, solar eclipses occurring each year; no more than two of which can be total eclipses. However, total solar eclipses are rare at any particular location because totality exists only along a narrow path on the Earth’s surface traced by the Moon’s shadow or umbra.

If you are interested in reading more about the Solar Eclipse view the source at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_eclipse.

Image from NASA (http://eclipse.gsfc.nasa.gov)

Great American Eclipse in Ravenna and Kearney

Totality at Kearney will be 12:57:30 to 12:59 p.m. CDT (1 min., 54 seconds)
Totality at Ravenna will be 12:57:21 to 12:59 p.m. CDT (2 min., 35 seconds)

 Kearney and Ravenna are collaborating on a weekend of events, with watch sites at the Arch Monument, various parks around the cities, and at the University of Nebraska at Kearney Cope Stadium, for a free, public Watch Party from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. The UNK Watch Party includes games, music and other live entertainment, and glasses are available for a small fee. Ravenna’s Hometown Eclipse Festival will also host several viewing events with the main locations including entertainment, souvenir vendors, food vendors, activities and more! 

UNK’s planetarium will take scheduled reservations, and its faculty are available to learn more about the solar system and share educational information about eclipses, the history of eclipses, animal behavior during eclipses, photographing a solar eclipse, religious responses to eclipses, and Black Holes.

 Other events planned during the weekend in Kearney are concerts at Viaero Event Center on Aug. 19, a “Blackout on the Bricks” (Aug. 19-21); a run/walk, kayak and bicycling event, a lecture by astronomer Dr. Tabetha Boyajian of LSU, and other lectures and discussions. Ravenna’s Hometown Eclipse Festival will consist of a presentation/Q&A by active NASA Astronaut Mike Finke and NASA Engineer Renita Finke on Aug. 19, a 5K run/ sand volleyball tourney/ parade on Aug. 19, golf tournament and Cruise Night on Aug. 20, and vendors/ live entertainment 19,20,21 at the Ravenna baseball fields. 

 Other watch locations in Kearney in addition to UNK’s Cope Stadium are: Yanney Park, Viaero Event Center, Archway Monument, Buffalo County Fairgrounds and Cottonmill Lake State Recreation Area.

 Kearney’s 1,700+ hotel rooms, camping accommodations at Ft. Kearny State Recreation Area and Kearney RV Park and Campground, plus over 100 restaurants and other amenities make Kearney the perfect travel destination for this once-in-a-lifetime event. Visit the Kearney Area Visitors Bureau for visitors information. 

 Ravenna’s watch events are at Ravenna’s baseball fields 1 and 2, as well as various other locations. Camping locations are available at the Buffalo County Lake located just to the east of Ravenna. View the locations here.

Find out more on what Ravenna and Kearney are doing for the total solar eclipse using the links below. You can also check out the calendar of events for both communities on our calendar using the link below.